Blogosphere

Fall California Winds Are Creating Unstoppable Firestorms

Faith Kearns, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Max Moritz, University of California, Santa Barbara
It doesn’t take long in California to develop a feel for “fire weather.” When it’s hot and dry and the winds blow a certain way, there can be no doubt that, as in the past, landscapes will continue to be forged in fire.
And so, we residents of the state find ourselves again facing late fall wildfires that have scorched drought-parched vegetation while the rainy season evades its highly anticipated start. As the death toll and structure loss from fires burning in the […]

Sun, Nov 18, 2018
Source: Crooks and Liars – Blog

There’s a real danger, as we go about our lives, that we think that everyone is familiar with our references and exposed to the same things we are and understands where we are coming from. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as a small example of that, my kids, who are on Thanksgiving holiday this coming week, were surprised when I told them I wanted to see “Bohemian Rhapsody;” their only reference to Queen being the song “Somebody to Love” in the movie “Ella Enchanted” (not even sung by Freddie Mercury). How is it possible […]

Sun, Nov 18, 2018
Source: Crooks and Liars – Blog

Meet The Emoji Congress

h/t Marilyn, open thread below…

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Sat, Nov 17, 2018
Source: Crooks and Liars – Blog

Thanksgiving-themed thriller movies are rare indeed, so instead please attempt to enjoy this truly bizarre slice of cult movie cheese in which a nice, young Christian man smokes pot and turns into a homicidal mutant turkey.
Quote of the movie: “Look, we don’t always understand the purpose of why things happen.” Like, for example, why in the name of Chalchiuhtotolin, the Aztec Jade Turkey God, this thing was ever released.
I also admit I thoroughly enjoyed discovering that the production was so cheap that when the voice-over narrator nearly coughed up a lung, they just said “Aw, screw […]

Sat, Nov 17, 2018
Source: Crooks and Liars – Blog

The cats have been super interested in the fence this week, which they’ve been using as a launching pad for explorations of nearby rooftops. Here is Hilbert, showing off his manly frame a couple of days ago. There’s also a bit of tongue action here for you tongue enthusiasts.
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Fri, Nov 16, 2018
Source: Mother Jones – Kevin Drum

Did Hispanics turn out in greater numbers this year than they did in 2014? I didn’t even bother looking at the exit polls for this, since virtually no one seems to trust them anymore. However, before the election Yair Ghitza at Catalist promised a super-sophisticated analysis that would give us the real straight dope. I looked for it the day after the election, but I guess it took a few days to get the numbers together. Here they are:
If Ghitza’s numbers are correct, all of Donald Trump’s very public hostility to Hispanic issues had pretty much no effect on Hispanic […]

Fri, Nov 16, 2018
Source: Mother Jones – Kevin Drum

I don’t know how this slipped my mind yesterday, but Katie Porter has beaten Mimi Walters to win my home district in Irvine:
Porter is now 6,000 votes ahead and rising. CA45 has been officially called.
The sad part of this is that a couple of days ago, as it became clear which way the wind was blowing, Mimi Walters pulled a Trump and started claiming that the vote count was corrupt. “I’m currently up by 1 point, but the Democrats are already preparing for a recount to try and steal this Republican seat after the fact,” she wrote in a fundraising […]

Fri, Nov 16, 2018
Source: Mother Jones – Kevin Drum

I know I’m probably trying your patience, but the state auditor’s report of California’s LA-San Francisco bullet train was released on Thursday:
[Elaine] Howle suggested that much of the spending so far may have been an outright waste….The audit, ordered by the Legislature this year, found extensive mismanagement, including serious problems tracking contracts, reviewing invoices for payment and monitoring construction progress….The project is 13 years behind the schedule set in the bond act approved by voters in 2008 and has grown in cost by $44 billion over its original $33-billion price target.
….Shortcomings in the agency’s ability to monitor progress on its […]

Fri, Nov 16, 2018
Source: Mother Jones – Kevin Drum

A 2007 report from the CIA’s Office Of Medical Services (OMS) was released after a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It reveals news details on the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, which included torture techniques used against detainees.
The top secret document [PDF] was drafted by the CIA’s top medical official to combat press coverage that OMS viewed as “caricature.” Coverage was seen as a “distorted picture” that warranted a “more informed internal account of how OMS understood and experienced this program.”
In the “secret history” written to defend the reputation of doctors involved in the torture […]

Thu, Nov 15, 2018
Source: Fire Dog Lake – Blog

The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is reflexively uttered by elites, who desperately hope acknowledging tragedy will be enough to avoid doing anything to meaningfully address carnage and destruction.
And for every tragedy that demands “thoughts and prayers,” there are many more examples in the United States and throughout the world that do not receive attention from politicians.
On Canadian hip-hop artist Lee Reed’s latest album, “Before and Aftermath,” he deconstructs the common political expression, exposing how it reinforces a status quo that benefits Western capitalism and empire.
The opening mentions mass shootings while noting that shootings by cops or “public executions […]

Tue, Nov 13, 2018
Source: Fire Dog Lake – Blog